What is Orbital?

dsc_0331For as long as I can remember, I have loved books and museums.

The two are very similar. A good museum is like one of those very beautiful, very heavy (and often very expensive) hardback coffee table books, all carefully presented with lovely bold typography and big, glossy pictures.

And a good book can very much function like a museum, placing characters and objects in their proper context, tracing fascinating stories back to unexpected sources and transporting the reader to a world quite different and more fantastic than their own.

2016 has been quite a year. I have heard many people remarking that they have never before experienced a year in which so many significant things have happened, from the passing of musical and sporting legends, to geopolitical revolution and turmoil. And there is a fair bit left to happen before we complete this lap of the Sun, not least the small matter of a certain US Presidential Election.

This got me thinking about whether there had ever been a year quite like this before. A small amount of research revealed that of course there had. There have been many, but the fragility and fickleness of human memory all too often confines them to the pages of dusty books, or more likely in this day and age, to an obscure Wikipedia page.

Orbital is an attempt to revive these lost or poorly remembered stories. Memory shall be our method, and our portals will be objects, people, buildings and monuments, works of art, feats of endurance, great triumphs and terrible catastrophes. The themes are largely the same as they have been throughout human history; the settings often iconic and occasionally unfamiliar.

Most of all, Orbital is dependent on the power of story. It will chart one lap of the Earth around the Sun, but the artefacts documented will take us both backwards in time and reach forward to today. They will cross the hemispheres of the globe and even, for brief moments, blast off into space.

The purpose of a museum is that it might be filled with visitors. Books are written to be read. Orbital is for you. I hope you enjoy it.


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